Bedroom Philosophers

The four characters wandering through Kahan James's The Standing Wave are hard to care about. Self-involved, emotionally tepid and utterly confused, each one suffers from the sort of banal problems that would most interest a bored coed. And with her bare-bones production at Ashland St. Theatre Co. -- lots of black plastic, an old orange comforter and a platform bed on wheels -- director Lisa Marie Singerman can do little to salvage the thin script.

Alicia (Nora Stein) and Carol (Nakisha Guevara), two cute chicks who hang out in swank coffee shops wearing skintight pants while yammering on about the ickiness of American men, get the story rolling when they spot a dreamy guy across the coffee beans and beckon him over. The curly-haired, sandal-wearing Sasha (Travis Ammons) grins bashfully, asking, "Would you like to meet?" Sounding and looking like the epitome of European frumpy-cool, the blue-eyed, soft-lipped man slips between the two young women and begins a long and silly affair. Never mind that Sasha has left his gorgeous boyfriend, who bears the unfortunate name of Cookie Dough (Erik Soliz), back at home. And never mind that he never whispers a word about Cookie to his two new girls. Sasha is on his way to new discoveries: one blond, one brunette.

He sleeps around with an easy sweetness, claiming he doesn't mean to hurt anybody, and the fact is, nobody seems to care much who he beds. All these characters are a randy, curious bunch who eventually and predictably end up in the sack together.

Along the way, we hear about their fractured childhoods, their lost parents and their spiritual struggles, which include a belief in "chaos and unpredictability." The metaphoric meaning of the title is explained; it has something to do with the physics of sound waves, which in turn has something to do with taking multiple lovers. As these twentysomethings search for something meaningful, we get to see lots and lots of lacy lingerie and scantily clad bodies, but in the end, all their struggles don't add up to anything more significant than the woes of a bunch of middle-class slackers.

Still, the performances from the young and attractive actors are bright and appealing. And Singerman keeps things moving at a quick, energetic clip as the bed covers fly. Frankly, it's more than this insipid script deserves.

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Lee Williams